How will Biden’s environmental plan affect Southwest Florida?

Published: January 27, 2021 5:47 PM EST
Updated: January 27, 2021 5:50 PM EST

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed executive actions to tackle climate change.

It could mean Southwest Florida gets ahead of the curve when it comes to hurricane season, but it could also mean we’ll pay more at the pump.

“We already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer,” Biden said during a press conference.

The president’s actions include tackling greenhouse gas emissions, something Dr. Jo Muller, associate professor of paleoclimatology at Florida Gulf Coast University’s The Water School, said can warm the atmosphere and in turn, warm sea surfaces and lead to more intense hurricanes.

“We saw a hurricane season in 2017 that cost the U.S. over $250 billion,” she said.

Muller believes if we invest in the climate crisis now, it will pay off in the long run, between natural disasters and creature comforts.

“Your personal expense with insurance alone and air conditioning, those are just two things that Floridians are going to have to think about in the coming years,” she said.

“Today’s executive order also directs the secretary of the Interior to stop issuing new oil and gas leases on public land and offshore waters wherever possible,” Biden said.

Ned Bowman, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, said that while most drilling is on private land, “I think that we’re going to see gasoline prices start to escalate back towards the four-dollar mark.”

Biden is also pushing for more electric cars, starting with the federal fleet.

“The federal government, I think it may work for them … but when you get on the road like when I’m driving from Tallahassee down to Naples, the electric vehicle wouldn’t get me all the way down there,” Bowman said.

The EPA says the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from humans is burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation.

Biden wants that down to net zero by mid-century.